When you start work as a professional salesperson you will soon know that your income is driven from your success rate. Over time the success rate must be established and driven. There is no room for salespeople that cannot sell. It can also be said that salespeople that are constantly struggling are of little use to a business.
In the average business today, the sales team is at the front line of building market share and customer satisfaction. Without those two things working well, the business fails to survive and those employed in the business will lose their jobs.
So everything hinges on the salesperson and the team in getting their act together and bringing the business some solid results. There is a simple process to producing the new business and the market share that you need. Every part of the simple process has to be optimised and practiced. When you understand the elements of this you can soon see the things that are critical to building your business.
Selling anything is a simple process of communication. That is communication in stages. Here are those stages:
- Researching the right people to talk to. When you get the research correct, every other stage of the process is quite easy.
- Prospecting in a consistent way so that you can find more customers and clients that need your services. Prospecting has to occur every day.
- Qualifying those clients and customers so you know the value that they can bring you and just how you could service them.
- Creating meetings should be a daily event. From your prospecting model you should be generating one or two new meetings per week.
- Categorising the customers into groups such as Key Accounts, Ordinary Accounts, and Basic Accounts. Each level will receive differing levels of attention and service. Key accounts are of the highest value to you over the long term.
- Presenting your services is something quite special. Your presentational style and sales pitch should be of high quality and relevant to the customers that you approach.
- Handling objections is a special process. There will always be some objections and you have to be ready for the common ones.
- Closing the order should not be hard if you have done everything else correctly. Be prepared to close at the right time and in the right way.
- Servicing the customer through the order and to final supply is really important. You want the client to stay with you for the long haul.
- Referral business has to be asked for. It is always available if you have done a good job on the sale and the supply.
Every salesperson should consider just how effective they are in each of these stages. Practice is required to improve the overall result. Professional selling is today one of the most exciting professions to pursue.
The sales profession is precisely that; it is a profession. When you understand that fact, you can begin to regard the skills of the trade as very special and something that you should improve on. You become a specialist in the ‘game’.
It’s a bit like playing golf. If you want to be the best, you must practice all parts of the game from tee off, moving around the course, handling the water traps and bunkers, and taking it all right down to putting. Every part of the game is really important. You are the player, and you know the game.
I have put together some important factors of the sales profession that are fundamental elements of sales performance. The whole package works well together. See how you rank.
- Believe in yourself at all times. Sometimes things get a bit overwhelming, and you will then have to make adjustments, but through all of this you are a top person and you take that self-belief into your career. Integrity and professionalism are all part of what we do, so self-belief integrates well with that.
- Deal with your procrastination because there will be plenty of it. It is the nature of sales as a career that you must do things that are difficult and that other people really do not want to do. Take on the challenge and move into the difficult tasks with commitment.
- Do not overindulge in life’s little pressures. Many a salesperson has ‘got off the rails’ with personal overindulgence. Too much of a good thing can take over your life and focus. Do not let any ‘vices’ take over your personal time. They will soon reflect in your business day and that will be the start of a downward spiral.
- Develop willpower to do just about anything. That being said, you should develop the willpower to do the ‘right’ things. It’s a bit like ‘throwing a switch’; you turn on the commitment to do the job no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.
- Keep fit mentally and personally. Every day give yourself time to get out into the world and exercise. Top performance in sales requires a fast mind and a fit body. These two factors will take you through the tough times with ease.
- Create a day system and a time management system for the things that need to be done every day. When you have a system of control and focus, you can get things done.
- Take some small rewards as you move through the day and week. All the hard work should give you the ability to have time for yourself.
- Do the hard stuff first every day. This is perhaps the most important item on this list. Always do the difficult things and get them out of the way. Make it a part of your diary to spend the first part of the day on the difficult stuff that others hate to do.
- Never lose control and show anger. Anger will get you nowhere. It will let others see weaknesses in your work pattern. If you want to be a top salesperson, you cannot show anger.
- Control your dialogue and improve it every day with practice. Some parts of your dialogue are critical to personal sales and performance. Those parts of your dialogue should be practiced to help you move to the top of your industry.
As logical as these 10 simple rules appear, they do require personal focus to set in place and implement. It’s up to you; everything that is good and rewarding is like that. Isn’t it good to be in control?
A sales champion has a definite mindset that separates them from everyone else. The mindset helps them with the focus and the action to keep moving ahead to their plan. They know what they want and they take steps towards that every day.
You could say that sales champions on average make up only some 10% of those people in sales teams in most industries. That leaves a staggering 90% of salespeople as quite ordinary.
Business leaders and Sales Managers would love to have more high achievers. The fact of the matter is that sales performance is a personal thing. You can train people to rise to the occasion, but in doing so you must help them with the altered mindset for the task and give them the routine to change old and ordinary habits.
The good news is that you can do all of this yourself; it just takes focus and effort for about 5 weeks. After that time things should be different and your market share should have improved.
Here are some tips to help you rise to the pinnacle of your industry and market:
- Understand what you are good at and feature that in your client connection processes.
- Improve your prospecting at every opportunity. It is a personal process and skill. Understand that decisions are made at the top level of business. That is where you should set your prospecting sights.
- Build a database of contacts that you can strengthen relationships with over time.
- Know why your product or service will be of help to your prospects. Define the benefits comprehensively for your industry.
- Define your target market physically and geographically. You cannot be a top salesperson over a big area.
- Understand and optimise any seasonal pressures that apply to your product or service sales. You will likely have a time of year where results can be optimised.
- How will your product or service benefit your target prospects? Can you quantify that in profits or results?
- Put yourself in the client’s chair. Think about your product or service from their angle. What result are they looking for and can you match that requirement?
To be a champion in sales, you simply need to be the best solution and sell yourself around that. Understand that most other salespeople in your industry are quite ordinary. That is an amazing opportunity for you to build on.
In business today, the humble telephone remains the most effective way to grow your business. The telephone allows you to make cold calls and find more clients to connect to; you can do all of this from the comfort of your desk. That being said, many salespeople will avoid the cold calling process at any and every opportunity.
So why do so many people have a problem with calls to new prospective clients? Here are some reasons that are common in most industries today.
- Lack of organisation
- No idea of how to make the process work
- Failure to develop a habit of making calls every day
- Call reluctance
- Not knowing of what to say
So the list will go on and on. The opportunity that exists here is massive; a good salesperson that can establish an effective call contact process in their market can create massive new business opportunity. That can then mean better salary or commission depending on how you get paid for results.
So what is the secret to progress here? The secret to making prospecting and cold calling work for you is to get started today and keep it going. Do not stop prospecting for any reason; every day you should be prospecting for new clients for at least 2 hours. This single fact will keep the business coming in and your pipeline growing.
If your industry is tough or slow, go back to the basics and get out amongst your clients and potential targets. Make prospecting the number one thing that you do every day. Quite soon you will see things change around for the positive and when that happens do not stop what you are doing, but lift your efforts even higher. Top salespeople know that everything comes down to them and what they do every day.